Police said the pursuit began just before 1 a.m. when the vehicle failed to yield to a California Highway Patrol officer. The officer was trying to pull the car over because it was reported stolen.
The driver led police through surface streets in Downey, but ended up spinning out and plowing into the tree on Marine Avenue, just steps away from the front doors to Chapman Elementary.
The suspect was taken into custody after he was treated for minor cuts.
City News Service contributed to this story.